|Series Theme: Bible Study Approaches|
Title: 2. Basics for Bible Study
A page that explains a variety of approaches to Studying the Bible
This is the first page of application notes to start you towards doing your own Bible Study.
On this page we will look at general considerations, making it relevant, and basic starter questions.
2. General Considerations?
Whenever you approach Scripture there are some basic considerations you always want to have in mind:
1. What did it mean to its original readers?
Many Christians over spiritualise the Bible and try to apply it to themselves first. What we need to do is ask, first of all, what was the writer trying to say to the people of his day?
When we read our English version of the Bible, read the language, first of all, as you would the language in any other book. It may be that the writer uses certain words in particular unusual ways, but that will become clear as we proceed to study the text.
2. What Gaps are there in my Understanding?
There may be gaps in my understanding of the culture of the Middle East , or the period of history, or the geography of the Middle East.
We will consider each of these in detail in the second page of these application sheets.
3. What are the Answers to the Basic Questions about the Passage?
For us to come to full understanding we may want to ask:
3. Making it Relevant?
To help answer that, we may need to look more carefully at what we are reading and see whether it is:
1. Simple INFORMATION being imparted?
How does it fit into my already existing understanding? Does it add to it or even, perhaps, change it?
Specifically in respect of information, we may ask, does this teach me anything about God, or anything about people, or anything about life in general?
2. A PRINCIPLE being laid down?
Is this a truth about life, how things 'work' in either the material or spiritual world? Do I need to recognise this principle and adjust my life accordingly?
3. A COMMAND to be obeyed?
Where it is a command from God, to whom was it addressed, and does it still apply today?
4. A PROMISE to be received?
If there is a promise from God here, is it to specific people in history, or is it a general promise to anyone, or is a promise that is conditional (as most are!)
5. A WARNING to be heeded?
Again, to whom was the warning given, and is it a general warning that we need to observe?
6. WRONGS to be avoided?
Sometimes these are in the form of bad behaviour noted in the narrative, sometimes in the form of direct teaching.
7. A EXAMPLE to follow
When observing the behaviour of individuals in the Scripture, consider whether this is something to emulate or avoid.
4. Basic Starter Questions?
The objective, surely, of reading or studying a passage, is to find out what was said or what was happening.
If the previous section seems too much for you, then the following, which are more basic questions, may help you focus on what was happening:
5. Applying those questions
To illustrate the above, we'll consider the story of Gideon in Judges, specifically the incident recorded in Judges 6:11-13
1. WHO is mentioned?
2. WHEN things happened.
3. WHERE they happened.
4. WHAT happened or was said?
5. WHEREFORE - what is happening here?
6. Other Passages to Study
If you would like to apply these questions to other straight forward passages you could try the following: